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To: Auckland Council (Notified Consents Hearing and other pertinent committees) and Waitemata Local Board:

Save Western Springs Native Forest

Save Western Springs Native Forest

We call on Auckland Council to stop their Resource Consent to destroy the majority of the 90+ year old native forest in their plan to fell the pine trees in the Significant Ecological Area of Western Springs Forest.
We call on Auckland Council to require
• Professional management of the forest and surgical removal of only trees pre-disposed to failure;
• Minimising loss and damage to the existing regenerating native bush under the pines;
• Phased restoration planting over several years leading to replacement specimen trees.
• To work with resident volunteers in partnership to manage the Forest from now on and its future development.

Why is this important?

The Resource Consent Hearing was granted in May 2019.

Residents formed the Society for the Protection of Western Springs Forest and appealed the Resource Consent to the Environment Court where the matter was settled at mediation because Council refused to budge from their discredited arboricultural report based on opinion and assumption, not arboricultural best practice. Council has never done a tree by tree assessment but the Society has and they demonstrated that the pine trees are in fact in good health and the Forest is 94% low-medium risk, which is more than acceptable.The forest is a normal ageing forest.

Council is planning to fell the pines in the next 2 months.

Please sign this petition.

Auckland Council is proposing to destroy all of the Pines together with the majority of the closed canopy regenerating native bush which has never been surveyed or assessed. They will be using industrial-scale clear felling.

Council plans to replant a native forest, with PB5s plus a few specimen trees, that will take 30-50 years to establish, providing it is properly planted, watered and maintained. For a significant number of years if this summer is anything to go by.

For the 90+ years that the pines have been growing a naturally regenerating native bush has been growing underneath the pines. This closed canopy bush is 90+ years old, providing habitat for biodiversity including Kaka, Morepork, Kereru, Fantail, Tui, Kingfisher, Heron, Spoonbill and Swallow among many other native and exotic bird species. It is an important stopping off point to migrating bird species and those flying from the offshore islands to the Waitakeres. Insects like Weta, Huhu, among other fauna, lizards and possibly native bats. This forest offers one of the very few urban Auckland habitats suitable for the long-tailed bat, a threatened nationally vulnerable species.

The Forest is an historically designated Significant Ecological Area (SEA) and is supposed to be protected by Council.

This plan looks like a back-door attempt to destroy the SEA. No community consultation has ever taken place on the Waitemata Local Board decision dated 2015 to destroy this forest.

We are asking the current Local Board not to proceed with the Resource Consent. To preserve the SEA which will be destroyed by this plan.

Council and the last WLB were running a campaign of fear claiming that the Forest is unsafe. Council has never done a tree by tree assessment nor a health and safety assessment. They rely on the opinion and assumption of one arborist whose reports have been discredited.

This site may well become at risk of erosion and instability as replanting of natives will take 1 to 6 possibly 10 years to stabilise the hillside. This means the hillside will be vulnerable to slippage during that time from heavy weather events.

There are other ways to deal with the ageing pines that do not involve almost totally destroying the regenerating native forest understorey and which will ensure fast regeneration of natives. However, the Council has NEVER considered any other option than clear-felling the pines and destroying the majority of the native forest understorey.

The key unknown is maintenance. The new native plantings will require even more maintenance than now and Council is unable to deliver the kind of quality park maintenance that old Auckland Council provided our valuable green assets.

The Society has calculated Council's plan will cost approximately $1million. If they managed the Forest it would cost approximately one quarter of that. Council has refused to provide any budgets for this very, very expensive plan.

Local affected residents with houses on at the top of the hill were never consulted on the proposal and they are worried about the potential risk of damage to their double brick houses by the possible consequences of the project destabilising the hillside below their houses.

Residents have cost-effective solutions and do not condone the Council turning this into another major project costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit Council's preferred contractors.

All over Auckland city we are seeing this dubious methodology of major clearances of our climate managing healthy mature exotic trees with proposed replanting of native plants, not necessarily trees, after the natural overstorey is removed. All at vast expense to ratepayers.

The 'Treescape methodology' so-called because often they are the main contractors of these very expensive projects which claim 'health and safety' issues and tree 'senescence' or trees are 'at the end of their useful lives'. Their former employees, revolving door appointments of this preferred contractor, are working within Council on these contracts for Council. All is not as it seems.

How it will be delivered

The Waitemata Local Board is to make its decision tomorrow Tuesday 25 February 2020 at 10am send an email or come along to ask them not to proceed with this travesty. Come along and support us, the meeting is at 10am Waitematā Local Board Office Boardroom, Ground Floor, 52 Swanson Street, CBD

Your signature will help persuade the Board to do the right thing.

Western Springs Park Great North Road, Western Springs, Auckland

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL


Reasons for signing

  • This is my hometown. What’s western springs without the bushes and forest in the area.
  • I grew grew up playing in this forest.
  • I’ve lived in Western Springs for many years and regularly walk in the forest. It’s an incredible little oasis almost in the heart of the city. I love the bird life and the solitude there. Whilst I agree some of the trees need felling, I’m totally opposed to cutting down the whole forest. I know I won’t see the forest regenerate in my lifetime if this plan goes ahead. Too sad to contemplate.

Updates

2020-02-15 16:03:38 +1300

1,000 signatures reached

2018-12-06 21:01:30 +1300

500 signatures reached

2018-05-16 20:23:47 +1200

100 signatures reached

2018-05-10 08:21:18 +1200

50 signatures reached

2018-05-09 19:15:10 +1200

25 signatures reached

2018-05-09 11:12:20 +1200

10 signatures reached